Tag Archives: care

Rishi Sunak’s NHS fail in a single social media post

Rishi Sunak in a hospital: he can get in because he can afford to jump the 7+ million-strong queue he and his Tory colleagues have created.

This just about sums up Tory health policy for the last 14 years:

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It is as Prem Sikka explained in a speech to the House of Lords (and an article for Left Foot Forward):

The government has reduced access to healthcare.

That was, is and remains the entire point of everything the Tories have done with the National Health Service since 2010 – and is the reason millions have died while awaiting NHS care under their rule.


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Kwarteng’s economics is compared to Harold Shipman’s social care

Kwasi Kwarteng: he needs to get used to this kind of criticism because he’ll be hearing it for the rest of his life.

Former Tory Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was left spluttering in indignation after a fellow guest on the BBC’s Politics Live compared his economic policies to mass murderer Harold Shipman’s idea of social care.

The incident was recorded by YouTuber Maximilien Robespierre, who provides his own commentary:

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Matt Hancock trashes Tory Covid-19 policy at the Covid Inquiry

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader, if you remember.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 27) was Matt Hancock’s big day at the Covid Inquiry – and he didn’t waste any words trashing Tory policy.

This Writer’s problem will be if there’s a discrepancy between what he’s saying now and what he did back then – spring 2020 onwards. I’m pretty sure there is, but let’s establish what he said first.

Oh dear! He fell at the first hurdle.

This Site has covered the matter of asymptomatic transmission – and especially how it related to care homes – extensively. You can get a flavour of it in this article about a leak of WhatsApp messages earlier this year – and it also contains many links to other articles on the subject.

Hancock also had a few things to say about care homes…

Here’s a biggie: BREXIT ENDED LIVES:

Oh hang on – Hancock reckons some of the Brexit preparedness stuff would have helped with Covid-19, too…

 

For the rest, I’m going to rely on a lot of information from Robert Peston, who was live-tweeting while Hancock was giving his testimony. It runs as follows:

Let’s have a response from people who lost family members because of the government’s Covid-19 failures:

For the moment, I’m presenting this evidence as it is. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about it. I’ll want some time to look into the implications.

It seems certain the inquiry will turn up more – and possibly even more damning – evidence as it continues.

Government admits to ‘limited’ understanding of home-based care abuse | Disability News Service

The government has admitted it has a “limited” understanding of the abuse of disabled people at the hands of their carers and care workers in their own homes.

The government review calls for a “stronger” response to protect disabled and older people from the people who provide them with support at home.

The 86-page Safe Care at Home Review, which was published quietly this week, more than two years after ministers were pushed into carrying out the work by disabled peers, examines the gaps in the protection of adults who risk abuse in their own homes from paid and unpaid carers and care workers.

Source: Government admits to ‘limited’ understanding of home-based care abuse – Disability News Service

Dental care in the UK is awful because governments made it that way

It’s amazing how some writers spin out an article when all we really need is a quick run-down of the facts.

We all know dentistry in the UK is in crisis. Many of us can’t get in to a dentist for a check-up and the reason is simple: there aren’t enough dentists in the UK.

Why aren’t there enough? Two reasons, according to Novara Media‘s article:

The real reason for this understaffing… was austerity: the government has slashed funding for NHS dental services by 8% in real terms since 2010. In 2013, David Cameron placed a hard cap on the number of trainee dental places his government would fund (the cap was lifted briefly in 2020-21, but was reimposed in 2022 and remains in place despite the current crisis).

Perhaps the most significant government contribution to the current crisis in British dentistry dates back to 2006, when Tony Blair introduced a new contract between the NHS and its dentists. Prior to that point, dentists were paid for each piece of work they did. As a result of the 2006 reform, dentists are now paid for a certain number of “units of dental activity”, with little distinction made between complex operations and simple treatments. If they don’t complete nearly all of this work (96%), dentists have to pay back some of their fee. But this is complicated by the fact that the total amount of work they can do is itself capped, meaning that if they do too much work, they have to turn patients away. The result is that many NHS dentists find themselves unable to make a decent living due to the low pay involved in dentistry (45% reported a decline in NHS pay since 2020), not to mention chronically overworked: 87% have felt symptoms of stress and anxiety in the past year.

So politicians created this crisis with a stupid contract and with funding cuts.

The answer is clear: change the contract to re-incentivise dentists, and restore funding levels.

Any government failing to do that is creating its own toothache (sorry).

Source: How Did British Dental Care Get So Awful? | Novara Media


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Reported funding cut could set back social care ‘for years to come’

Care: the head of NHS England once said he wanted change but now it seems clear it will be for the worse.

The Tory government promised to revitalise social care in the UK – but seems set to renege on that vow.

Is this the next big Tory scandal?

Ministers are poised to cut £250m from investment in the social care workforce in England, it has been reported, in a move that providers say could set back care “for years to come”.

With more than 165,000 care worker jobs vacant, and low pay driving staff to quit for better wages in retail and hospitality, care providers and councils have been clamouring for investment in recruitment and retention. Inadequate staffing levels are frequently noted as a cause of neglect and poor care by the Care Quality Commission.

However, according to the Health Service Journal (subscription), the government is poised to water down a promise it made in the December 2021 social care white paper to dedicate £500m to “investment in knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, and recruitment policies [that] will improve social care as a long-term career choice”. This amount could be cut to £250m.

Source: Government ‘to cut £250m from social care workforce funding’ in England | Care workers | The Guardian

How could this care home spend severely disabled man’s cash on women’s clothes, cosmetics and toys he could not use?

Care: this is the most illustrative image I could find that doesn’t show the people involved in the story – but how many severely disabled people are getting the care they need?

This is a serious breach of care. It seems care home staff and a UK city council spent a severely disabled man’s money on things that weren’t for him – and lied to his family about it.

Ian Reeves was a resident at Marston Court Care Home, Leicester, from 2007 until he died in February 2021. His next of kin, sister Sharon McConnell, developed serious concerns about the care he was receiving and how his money was being spent after their mother died in 2018.

She found that his bedroom was bare and he was sitting in a broken wheelchair, so she asked for control of his finances – but was refused.

So she applied to the courts to become a deputy – with the council retaining the role of appointee – and this was granted. Then she requested information on what had been done with his money.

She found that thousands of pounds had gone into and out of his bank account over the years – being spent on women’s and children’s clothes, cosmetics and toys he could not use.

She also found her wheelchair-bound brother’s money had been spent on Zumba classes and chiropody, which she also found strange. The council told her the Zumba classes were specially adapted and he enjoyed taking part.

There was much more (see the source article – link below – for details).  Ms McConnell wanted more information but was frustrated by the response, so she urged the council, the police, the Care Quality Commission and the ombudsman to carry out their own investigations.

The police and the CQC very quickly backed out. The council concluded the home had mismanaged her brother’s finances and that more than £1,500 of his money was ‘unaccounted for’.

It ordered the home to apologise, pay the missing money back and carry out a review of its policies for managing residents’ finances. But the home did not accept the council’s findings and claimed the spending on Zumba classes, clothing and toys all met Ian’s needs.

Both Marsden Court and the council have been found guilty of failing her brother and maladministration by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The ombudsman concluded both the council and home mismanaged Ian’s finances. Its report, which refers to Ian only as ‘Mr C’, highlights a catalogue of mistakes by both organisations.

Ms McConnell has been offered apologies and £500 in compensation – to make up for the loss of thousands of pounds.

But bosses at the home, while acknowledging they had to learn lessons on good practice from the case, have said they don’t recognise other concerns that had been raised.

They said the home had received a clean bill of health from the Care Quality Commission (which had backed away from investigating, remember) and the council (which had admitted failings) and other professionals regularly visited the home and viewed Ian’s room.

That’s where this story ends. But it raises questions about the care of other severely disabled people at homes around the UK – the most obvious being the following:

How many other people have received – or are receiving – the same or similar treatment to that received by Ian Reeves?

Source: Scandal as care home spends severely disabled man’s money on women’s clothes, cosmetics and toys he could not use – Leicestershire Live


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If you aren’t worried about NHS privatisation, you need to watch this

Our National Health Service is being taken away from us while the government and the mass media pull the wool over our eyes.

The new Integrated Care Services are based on an American model, but with a slight name change.

The American system is the most expensive and least efficient that the NHS could possibly morph into – but you’re not being told that.

If you don’t think our biggest national treasure is being perverted into a parody of a system that profits from pain, then you need to watch this:

And don’t think Labour will be in better hands with Keir “Labour’s greatest achievement is Nato” Starmer!


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Are these the facts about Matt Hancock’s Covid 19 care homes blunder?

Matt Hancock: Blunderman strikes again.

The cache of 100,000 WhatsApp messages by Matt Hancock about Covid-19, from 2020, in which he discussed delaying or failing to test people going into care homes from the community, got a thorough airing on the BBC’s Politics Live and in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions.

PMQs focused mostly on the fact that information about the government’s behaviour during the Covid crisis is starting to drip out piecemeal, meaning it is now a matter of urgency that the independent inquiry into the response to the pandemic be concluded and report in good time.

The discussion on the talk show was more about the content of the messages – and did, in fact, touch on the fact that these messages all came long after the big decisions about testing for Covid-19 in care homes had already been made.

Hancock had known since February that year that people from the community, coming into homes, were infecting the people living there, and since March that people there were dying of Covid-19.

He chose to do nothing about it until April – and then, as the messages indicate, he didn’t do enough.

So, is this a storm in a teacup?

Judge for yourself:


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Matt Hancock WhatsApp leak rewrites history – but not the way you’re being told

Matt Hancock: the current WhatsApp controversy makes it seem he only considered testing people in care homes from April 14, 2020 – but existing information shows he had been ruling it out for around two months (since February) despite mounting deaths.

No wonder Isabel Oakeshott was so liverish on Politics Live – she was about to become the centre of a new Covid-19 controversy.

Ms Oakeshott is the person who leaked 100,000 Matt Hancock WhatsApp messages that seem to suggest he has not been altogether truthful about government plans for Covid-19 testing in care homes during 2020. She had access to them while “helping” him write his memoir.

Spokespeople for Hancock have said the messages have been doctored to present a false impression.

But my recollection is that the controversy at the time had little to do with what these messages say. I made my point on Twitter as follows:

You can read the relevant background information in these Vox Political articles from 2020:

Coronavirus deaths: ‘sorry’ is the hardest word for Hancock (April 29, 2020)

Is Johnson guilty of human rights abuses over coronavirus care home deaths? Could be! (May 3, 2020)

Care home deaths cover-up suggests Johnson and Hancock are guilty as sin (May 15, 2020)

If Tories really regret not testing for Covid-19 in care homes – is it because they were caught? (May 20, 2020)

Why didn’t Matt Hancock send vulnerable Covid-19 sufferers to Nightingale hospitals rather than care homes? (May 22, 2020)

Hancock denies claim about Covid-testing care home residents. What DID he mean, then? (June 6, 2020)

Hancock’s excuse for care home deaths changes with the wind – but doesn’t change the fact that HE LIED TO US (June 10, 2020)

Doctor launches court case against Tories over Covid-19 care home death of her dad (June 14, 2020)

Is Matt Hancock denying care homes Covid-19 tests to deliberately harm residents? (August 30, 2020)

So there you have it. Despite advice from SAGE in February 2020 that Covid-19 was already being transmitted between people in the community, Hancock put out official guidance saying there was no such transmission and nobody in a care home was likely to be infected.

Care home staff who moved from one home to another were also not tested, meaning they were able to catch the disease from patients at one home and transmit it to those at any others they visited.

This remained official advice until March 12, 2020, despite the fact that care homes had been recording deaths related to Covid-19 from March 2 onwards – 10 days previously.

The UK only went into lockdown on March 23.

Care homes did not start testing for the disease until April 15 (of people leaving hospital), and regular tests of all staff and residents did not start until July.

Now check this against the current story (I’ll use the BBC version as the Telegraph, which broke this story, is behind a paywall):

WhatsApp messages leaked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggest Mr Hancock was told in April 2020 there should be “testing of all going into care homes”.

Government guidance later mandated tests only for those leaving hospital.

In one message, dated 14 April, Mr Hancock reportedly told aides that Prof Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medial officer for England, had conducted an “evidence review” and recommended “testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result”.

The message came a day before the publication of Covid-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care, a government document setting out plans to keep the care system functioning during the pandemic.

Mr Hancock said the advice represented a “good positive step” and that “we must put into the doc”, to which an aide responded that he had sent the request “to action”.

But later the same day, Mr Hancock messaged again saying he would rather “leave out” a commitment to test everyone entering care homes from the community and “just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital”.

“I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said this followed an operational meeting, where he was advised it was not possible to test everyone entering care homes.

When the care plan was published on 15 April, it said the government would “institute a policy of testing all residents prior to admission to care homes”, but that that would “begin with all those being discharged from hospital”.

It said only that it would “move to” a policy of testing everyone entering care homes from the community.

From March 2020 to January 2022, there were 43,256 deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes in England, according to the Office for National Statistics.

There’s a big discrepancy, isn’t there?

The WhatsApp messages have it that Hancock was only advised to start testing everybody going into care homes on April 14.

But in fact, SAGE had warned him in February – two months previously – that Covid-19 was already being transmitted in the community, and it is clear that community transmission was considered likely to cause infections within care homes from the government advice that was published on February 25.

And death figures from care homes clearly showed that Covid-19 had caused deaths there from March 2 onwards, so Hancock had no reason to believe that these homes were unaffected.

But he waited nearly two months before doing anything.

The lack of testing kits in sufficient numbers has been blamed for the failure to test everybody who needed it – but this is not an acceptable response. The government had known of the threat since late 2019 but had not bothered to take timely action, and this is the reason too few testing kits were available.

And more than 43,000 people died.


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